Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bright Hummingbirds

Magnificent and Fiery-throated Hummingbirds
When you go to the tropics, you expect to see lots of colorful hummingbirds, and you won't be disappointed! We saw at least 18 species of hummers, and sometimes it is hard to tell them apart. Different species lived at the higher altitudes around Sagreve Mountain Lodge - from 7,200 to 10,000 feet. In the shade, they all look the same, but when they turn into the sun, the brilliant iridescent colors will amaze you.
Lesser Violetear
 The Lesser Violetear is one of the easier birds to identify, with the patch of violet on an otherwise green head and body. Found in the highlands.
Magnificent Hummingbird
The Magnificent Hummingbird is also found in the highlands. When the sun is just right, the top of his head turns purple while his throat is bright turquoise. He is larger than the other hummers in the area.
Magnificent Hummingbird on Nest
In Kentucky, our little Ruby-throated Hummingbirds build small nests on a branch and are almost invisible. This female Magnificent builds a much larger nest, this time under a roof, so her little ones won't get wet when it rains.
Magnificent Hummer investigating orange nails
All you have to do is put out a few feeders to attract many birds to your yard in Costa Rica. They are fearless and will zoom between people standing in their way to chase another bird from their favorite feeder. I tried holding out my orange finger nails, and several birds came to investigate. This little guy came and tapped on my nail to see if it was a flower.
If the line is too long at the feeder, some will reach down from a nearby twig for a quick drink.
Snowcap Hummingbird
In the Carribean foothills around Rancho Naturalista, about 3,000 feet in elevation, the tiny 2 inch Snowcap is a harder bird to find. Being so small, he tries to keep away from the many larger bullies at the feeders.
White-necked Jacobin
The Jacobin is one of the more aggressive birds at the feeders, but very easy to identify with the white spot on the back of the neck and brilliant white feathers when he spreads his tail. He is more a shiny navy blue than green. The tail spread seems to be a warning for whatever bird he wants to argue with, such as the Rufous-tailed Hummingbird.
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
The Rufous-tailed also fans his rufous tail as a warning, before taking after the Jacobin to chase him away.
Rufous-tailed Hummingbird
In addition to the rufous tail, this little guy has a rufous beak as well, and is very common in gardens of the middle elevations.
White-throated Mountain Gem
Volcano Hummingbird
 The Mountain Gem is about 5 inches compared to the little Volcano at only 2 inches. 
Green-breasted Mango female
To me, most of the female hummers look very much alike with green backs, and white bellies. This Mango female is quite distinctive though, with a prominent dark stripe down her throat and belly, making her easier to identify than the male.

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